I jetted back to the States last week for the memorial service. It was very moving and emotional with a few tears and many smiles. My father was a very generous person with his time and energy and spent every free moment with people who needed a friend. Those friends in turn showed up in droves to the service and I was very touched to see how many people my father affected.
The day after the memorial, my mother, my three younger brothers and I drove down to Daytona Beach, Florida, to relax, enjoy the sunshine, and decompress after such an emotional event. We spent a day at Universal Studios in Orlando where we laughed and screamed and basked in the sunshine. it was nice to see my mother having such a good time. The last year and a half of my father's illness was very stressful for her and even though she was heartbroken to lose her husband of 33 years, she was able to enjoy a relaxing couple of days with her sons and no worries.
Of course I had to leave Tina and Nolan back in China, and it was hard to have so much fun without my own family, but this was a time for my first family. But when I came back to China last weekend, I wsa able to make a special memory of my own.
On the way from Shanghai Pudong Int'l Airport to Tina's friend's home where I was going to spend the night before heading back to Xiamen, I got off the subway at the People's Square station. My father and mother had visited me in China in 2006 and we had spent a couple of days in Shanghai, so my father had a direct connection there. This time I brought back some of my father's ashes with me and sought out a small tree in the square. After inspecting the perimeter to make sure I wasn't being watched, I poured my father's ashes over the tree's roots. Now my father's body will forever be a part of China, and his family is through me.